Mariano Rivera had blown 77 saves in his career prior to Tuesday night: 73 in the regular season and four in the postseason. But his 78th blown save was the first of the lot in which he failed to record a single out. That career-first for Rivera, who had also thrown out the ceremonial first pitch before the game, capped a compelling night of baseball in Queens, N.Y. Matt Harvey was dominant again only to narrowly avoid suffering his fist loss of the season when the Mets walked-off against Rivera with a 2-1 win.
Harvey held the Yankees to a run on six singles over eight innings while striking out 10 without walking a single man. Hiroki Kuroda did him one better, however, with seven scoreless frames in which he allowed just four singles and struck out seven. David Robertson pitched a perfect eighth to hand the 1-0 lead to Rivera. And after eight innings of futility, it took the Mets just nine pitches from Rivera, who had been a perfect 18 for 18 in save opportunities on the season, to steal the victory.
Daniel Murphy laced Rivera's third pitch to left for a ground-rule double. David Wright then tied the game with a single up the middle on a 2-0 pitch and moved to second on what was ruled a throwing error by center fielder Brett Gardner, whose throw was accurate but short and skipped through the wickets of Yankees catcher Chris Stewart. Rivera then got the only first-pitch strike of his night against Lucas Duda. Two pitches later, Duda dunked a single into shallow right to drive Wright home with the winning run.
As for Harvey, over his last seven starts, he has posted a 2.39 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 6.5 strikeout-to-walk ratio, and struck out 52 men in 49 innings but has just one decision to show for it. It was a win over the Cubs two turns ago. His performance Tuesday was his second-best of that stretch. The best, of course, was his 12-strikeout, one-hit outing against the White Sox on May 7, a game in which the only baserunner he allowed was safe by less than a step on an infield hit. The Mets won that game in a walk-off as well, by a 1-0 score, but it took them ten innings to do so and Harvey only lasted nine.
Given how well Harvey pitched and how poorly Rivera did, Kuroda's performance is likely to get overlooked, but it shouldn't be. With those seven scoreless innings, Kuroda is now fifth in the AL with a 2.39 ERA. Tuesday night was his fourth start of the season in which he threw seven or more scoreless innings and the seventh in which he threw seven or more innings and allowed two or fewer runs. His no-decision was every bit as hard-luck as Harvey's, but in his case was just the second of the season. Kuroda is now 4-1 in those seven starts of seven-plus innings and two or fewer runs.
The Yankees and Mets continue their series in the Bronx on Wednesday.